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Published in: Utrenniaya Zvezda [Morning Star]. 1997. No. 2/3. 156-173.


Modern life is rapidly changing. Signs of new evolution knock on all doors. Magic energies, powerful rays, endless discoveries erase conditional borders and effuse great scientists’ studies. Antiquity discloses its secrets to us, and the future stretches out its powerful hand of ascent. In this true science, beyond conventionalities, we feel wonderful responsibility for future generations. We are gradually understanding all the harm of constant negations, we are starting to appreciate this enlightened positive and creative attitude.

Nicholas Roerich


There are notions that determine the principle trends of the cosmic evolution of mankind, the ways of its improvement and ascent. These notions are thinking and consciousness. Both are closely interrelated and are interdependent parts of the same energetic process. Thinking does not exist without consciousness; consciousness cannot be formed without thinking. One is an expression of the other to such an interpenetrating extent that when sometimes substituting one for the other, we do not make a bad mistake. The quality of thinking determines the level of consciousness, and the latter gives us an idea of the quality of thinking. The question which of these two notions is primary and which is secondary is not correct. As derivatives of cosmic energetic process in the spiritual space of man himself, thinking and consciousness belong to the Infinity that has neither beginning nor end. One passes into the other in time and space; one is an energetic impulse for the other. However, the action mechanism of each of them has its own particular features, which are determined by the degree of relation to the energetics of a higher state of matter of other dimensions.

In its timelessness and spacelessness thought,” one of the Living Ethics books says, “belongs to the Subtle World, but also in this structure one must discern still deeper possibilities. Fiery thought penetrates still deeper than the thought of the Subtle World. Therefore fiery thought manifests even more exactly the highest creativeness.” [1]. “Timeless and measureless” thought belongs to the Higher and is one of this Higher’s most important elements in the earthly evolution of mankind. Thoughts, those messengers of other worlds, have different degrees of refinement and vibration, depending on the quality of the space of the human spirit in which they manifest themselves. Fiery thought that has arisen in this space has powerful energetic potential and can serve as the impulse for the formation of a whole historical epoch. But thought of such quality appears when people, as expressed by the Living Ethics Authors, “think mentally” [2] and do not use words. For words are an earthly form in which thought is expressed in order to manifest itself in our physical world. Words cannot give birth to fiery thought by themselves, as they are not energetically related to Higher worlds. Thus, a true creator first “thinks in thoughts” when creating, and then expresses the thought in words or some other form that freezes in the earthly matter.

The main energetic exchange with the Higher worlds is realized through “the Fiery Thought Process” [3], in the course of which, the conditions for humanity’s further ascent along the stairs of cosmic evolution and the improvement of its social being are formed. “Thinking is a pledge of success,” the Teachers write, “a pledge of a mighty future. The transmutation of life is indeed affirmed by transmutation of thinking. In each process one can trace how thinking evolves or regresses. besides inspired thinking, there acts the impulse of kindling the thought” [4]. Such an impulse is formed in the course of the accumulation of energy, which changes the quality of thinking itself. “Only by renovation of thinking can humanity cognize the new step of the planet!” [5]. Thinking as such is manifested by consciousness, which renders it a specific form. The meaning of the very word consciousness( literal translation from Russian – “co-knowledge”) testifies to it. Consciousness is knowledge received through thought from the Higher source and comprehended in accordance with the comprehending person’s level of development. Consciousness is a kind of earthly manifestation of thinking itself.

The Living Ethics quite precisely defines the role of thinking and consciousness, their interaction. “The torch of spiritual consciousness gives humanity its tensed spiral; established life moves along this spiral. The torch creating the spiral of thinking calls, indeed, to Spacious Fire” [6]. The conductor of spacious fire energetics is the grain of our spirit, which is a particle of elemental fire. It is around this grain that the field of our consciousness is formed. “Remember the treasure of the consciousness. Tremor of the substance of the Cosmos manifests the pulsation of the awakened consciousness. Indeed, the rainbow of knowledge flows out of the tremor of the consciousness - a visible stream from an invisible source. Through all experience of the past and all attainments of the future, remember about the consciousness” [7].

Consciousness is the instrument with whose help we measure the level of our knowledge and through which we cognize our being, the planet, the Cosmos, trying to sense the reality that is contained in their energetic essence. The higher is consciousness, the deeper is the knowledge. “The usual and the unusual are devided only according to the degree of consciousness. It is truer to say - absorbed and unabsorbed, realized and unrealazed” [8]. This law acts in any sphere of science, no matter what character it might have, experimental or speculative. The comprehension of information possessed by a scientist directly depends on the level of his consciousness. For many centuries, apples had been falling from trees, but Newton came, whose consciousness was by far ahead of his contemporaries, saw in this everyday act something that had not been seen by others, and formulated the law of gravitation. It is hard to say how many such “apples” are falling around us now. And someone, struck by the light of his own illumination, will see in them what was closed to people living by his side. And he will open their eyes. “The shift of consciousness leads to the path of evolution. The improvement of life on the planet depends on a shift of consciousness to such an extent that the main advancement is an expression of thinking. That is why humanity’s concern is the advancement of thought” [9].

This “advancement of thought,” or development of thinking, just like the improvement of the quality of consciousness, is related to the evolutionary process of synthesis, without which neither this nor that is capable of advancement. It is in the energetic space of thinking and consciousness that the main point of the synthesis of mankind’s cosmic evolution lies. This point is at the same time the point of contact with the Higher. For without such contact with the energetics of the Higher, no synthesis can take place. The latter is only born with the help of the subtle energies of Higher worlds. The same point of synthesis determines the form and quality of earthly humanity’s thinking and consciousness.


Mankind has known three types of thinking and consciousness, which successively have replaced each other: mythological, religious, and scientific. Mythological thinking was the earliest and kind of fundamental, forming the basis for the other two. “Religion, philosophic systems, art, social forms of being of primitive and modern man, the first scientific and technical discoveries, even torturous night visions – all this comes from a single mythological source,” major Mexican scientist F. D. Infante wrote [10].

The mythological source is the most enigmatic and mysterious. It is not clear in what time and space it appeared, who formed the immortal images of gods, described cosmogonic acts, gave impetus to the creative work of man himself, created the main characters’ types and determined the particular features of their behavior. Different peoples, sometimes separated by enormous spaces, have the same fundamental mythological scheme. The impression is that once some grandiose and simultaneous “seeding” of strange information that had seized the whole planet was performed. It is also inexplicable that myths show another reality, different from our earthly reality. Other time, different from this one, and other space existed in them. Participants in sacral and cosmogonic acts possessed unearthly possibilities in myths: they could change their bodies, turn into animals, easily passed from one sphere to another. “In the language of a myth,” F. D. Infante pointed out, “there are no definite times: the past merges into the present, the future merges with the past; images act as multicolored masks changing under the influence of the complicated mechanisms of negation and obliteration” [11].

Early humanity’s cult practice grew from this sacral reality.

The religious truth of all legends and myths,” N. Berdiayev noted, “is not at all the fact that they provide some natural scientific or historical knowledge that can compete with modern history, geology, biology, etc., but the fact that they symbolically disclose some very deep processes that took place beyond the limits that separate the time of our eon from another reality” [12]. The Russian philosopher was one of the first who, consonantly with the Living Ethics’ creators, referred to myth as “other reality.” “Myth is not an invention, it is reality, but reality of a different type in comparison with the reality of the so-called objective, empiric entity” [13].

The enigma of myth’s origin and essence can only be settled taking into consideration the interaction of spirit and matter, their duality characteristic of man himself.

Man was and has stayed for all of history a dual creature, akin to two worlds – the higher God’s world, which he reflects in himself, and the natural world in which man is immersed, whose fates he shares, and which in many ways affects man and ties him hand and foot to such an extent that his consciousness becomes obscured, and its higher origin, its kinship to higher spiritual reality, is forgotten” [14].

The idea of duality runs like a common thread through mythology and early historical writings. In the pantheon of the Toltecs and other peoples of Central America, there was the god Ometeotl, “the Lord of duality,” who resided in the thirteenth heaven. Quetzalcoatl, “Feathered Serpent,” who carried this duality even in his name, a mythical cultural hero and a real historical personality who was closely interrelated in a strange and inconceivable way with his mythological prototype, brought his teaching to Tulu shortly before the Spanish Conquista. “The basis of everything is twofold – people and gods, the heaven and the earth, life and death” [15], he stated.

This is how Quetzalcoatl’s appearance is described in the philosophic poem of Quetzalcoatl, created by talented and original poet Jose Lopez-Portillo:

I appear in this twofold place [16].

The poem continues:

Impenetrable night, beaches, and wind
And he is thrown onto the shore
All naked, he’s forgotten all that was before.
Just in the depth of the mind, a thought is gleaming weakly like a distant star. [17]

The poet’s insight and deep penetration into the teaching of Quetzalcoatl and into mythology gave the author the chance to describe in artistic images the extremely complicated energetic process from which creative work and creation start, the entrance of the spirit’s spark into matter. “I appear in this twofold place [ . . . ] having forgotten all that was before.”

These two ideas are extremely important for the further understanding of the essence of myth. The dialectics of the energetic process in the Universe determines one paradoxical phenomenon: evolution starts with involution. The meaning of duality manifests itself vividly and irrevocably in this process. The spark of the spirit initially enters matter to rise again with the matter that this spark spiritualizes and changes. This is the essence of involution – evolution’s contraposition. Only contraposition as such gives birth to the energetics of the evolutionary “corridor;” without this condition, there is no evolution.

I am Quetzalcoatl, Feathered Serpent.
And I can crawl and fly.
The earth and wind.
The mud and sky.
fallen, butI’ll rise. [18]

What happened is the fall of man,” N. Berdiayev writes, “into the natural bowels, enchaining with natural elements in which the human spirit was charmed and from which it could not rise on its own and could not lift that terrible magic spell that flung him into the environment of natural necessity” [19].

And somewhere there, in the domain of the energetic process carrying duality in its essence, that single point appears where this duality is realized, where the earthly and the heavenly merge, secret borders cross, where the matter of another reality is united with the earthly. And in this point in evolutionary synthesis, that field of the primary creation of the world and man is formed that is captured by mythology. And on the verge of the heavenly and the earthly, in that “twofold place,” the first page of the history of earthly humanity appears, which in its initial character resembles more the heavenly than the earthly.

The creation of the world on the basis of information of “other reality,” that primary source whose presence is always sensed, is an extremely important spiritual and cultural process from which the evolution of earthly man and his comprehension of his absolute kinship to the Cosmos start. “This is the first page in a story of the earthly fate of man after his heavenly fate, after the prologue that took place in heavenly history” [20].

However, the process of the spirit’s entrance into matter, which is so far unknown to us, is extremely complicated and can change the quality of the information of “other reality” that is carried by the spirit, can distort it, or can completely lose it – “forget all that was before.” And only the cognition of the laws of this process can give us the chance to establish these changes and deviations and penetrate the depths of the energetics of myth creation itself. Perception of myth as a phenomenon of other worlds is preserved in some peoples, those whose archaic culture to a certain extent has been for a long time unaffected by external influence. For example, Australian aborigines call the mythical epoch of primary creation “the time of night visions,” which absolutely definitely points at that time’s relation to “other reality,” which appears before us in dreams. This is the energetic path of our relation to it. Chukchees consider myth to be “a message of creation’s beginning epochs” [21], which is also to some extent comprehension of the world’s relation to “other reality.”

Due to the dual character of that energetic space where myth creation takes place, the myth, in its turn, also acquires features of duality. As if belonging to both Heaven and earth, the myth closes the last page of the human spirit’s heavenly history and opens the first page of the history of earthly humanity.

In the deepest depth of time,” N. Berdiayev writes, “in that depth in which the primary fate of man is formed, his primary descent to the edge sharply separating the time of our reality from that of eternity, in that depth of the initial stage of our historical time, issues still akin to eternity are perceived, and only in the future, already in a different time, the freezing, closing of our world’s eon takes place, which begins to be opposed to eternity. What we call heavenly eternity recedes into transcendent distance, which turns out to be removed from this world. But in initial religious myths, in human traditions, all these borders between the eternity and time are not sharply defined, and this is one of the greatest mysteries interfering with the comprehension of ancient religious life” [22].

From the time of the spirit’s entrance into earthly matter, accompanied by the energetic process of myth creation, the interaction of spirit with matter had started, which determined the essence of all earthly phenomena and linked them to “other being.”

Mythological thinking and consciousness were integral, unseparated, and imaginative. They existed in such form, for many centuries, and the first religious ideas of mankind relied on mythology. But the time came when mythological ideas of “another reality” sung like a lullaby above the forming humanity, did not correspond any more to its development. Mankind was rising to its feet and learning to walk on its own. It needed another form of thinking, another level of consciousness.


Religious thinking was coming to substitute for the mythological. The Cosmos stopped whispering to man its magical fairy-tales, and three great religious Teachers were incarnated on the Earth to teach mankind to believe and love. Buddha, Christ, and Muhammad brought their teachings, which became, together with their creators, that energetic impulse from which the shift of thinking and consciousness that is necessary for further development starts. Colorful masks of dreams-myths were left in the past, and the boundlessness of the Cosmos and its spiritualized realia arose in the Teachers sermons before humanity. But man’s thinking was not yet ready for the perception of the new information, and faith was substituted for knowledge. Faith was that realm within which the point of relation to the Higher was pulsing, gradually turning into a phenomenon of evolutionary synthesis. Religious mentality, which began to be formed from the 7th century BCE, reached its heyday in the Middle Ages and caused very deep revolutionary shifts that changed the spiritual and energetic structure of mankind in general. It is in the energetic field of religious thinking and mentality that the final establishment of the fifth (that is, modern) type of mankind took place.

The transition from mythological thinking to religious had its peculiarities conditioned by historical reality and the level of the development of mankind itself. The principal system of beliefs spread on the planet by the time of transition to new thinking was based on mythological mentality and cults closely related to myths. This system is sometimes in science called “shamanism.” It was characterized with polytheism, worshipping powers of nature, and a cosmogonic version of comprehending man’s place and role in the Universe. The relation to the Higher was expressed in the form of shamans’ incantations and the magical acts that corresponded to them. The process of one thinking passing into the other was stretched in time and often had dramatic forms. However, such transition in its objective energetic expression did not involve complete destruction of the mythological basis. Religious consciousness and mentality absorbed local cults and understandings that had preserved their viability by that time, had transformed them, and had turned into an organic part of the new religious systems. Thus, for example, Buddhism’s teaching, having come into contact with shaman beliefs like Bon-po, turned into Lamaism with a pantheon of multiple gods completely alien to the Buddhist philosophy. The struggle between mythological and religious thinking that was under way both at the level of the gods and at the level of people resulted in a compromise in this case. Old divinities, which were conquered by new Buddhist saints and ascetics, and demons as well were as if combed, washed, and deprived of their repulsive qualities. In such a comely form, they were placed on the altars of lamaist temples where they have stayed through now.

The Christian religious mentality also absorbed transformed pagan cults and beliefs. Gradually, in the realm of Christian religion, the church started to be formed, an institute where a hierarchy of priests was established, cults were canonized, and the Teaching itself turned into an ideology.

Under the shade of church domes and spires, the fundamental initial Teaching was being transformed from the goal into the means, which the church shepherds started to use in their earthly interests that were far from devotion.

After Augustine [4th-5th centuries. – L.Sh.], one of the Living Ethics books notes, the church started to become immersed into the medieval darkness, and Christ ended up locked out by a golden barrier” [23].

The concealed struggle between the Teaching and the church, between the god and the people burdened with evil and sin, between spirit and matter, continued for many centuries. The essence of this struggle was brilliantly conveyed by Fyodor Dostoyevsky in the parable about the Grand Inquisitor in his novel The Brothers Karamazov. The fictional situation of the Grand Inquisitor’s meeting with Christ, who has come to earth again, reveals the whole dismal depth of the church’s recession from the Great Teacher’s teaching. The Inquisitor’s final words give a clear understanding of the Teaching’s tragic fate. “I repeat to you again,” the Inquisitor says, finishing his monologue before Christ, “tomorrow you will see this obedient herd, which, on my first beckoning, will rush to move hot coals closer to your stake at which I will burn you for coming to interfere with our lives. For if there were someone who had deserved our stake most, then it is you. Tomorrow Iwill burnyou. Dixi” [24].

With the help of the “holy inquisition,” the conflict between the Teaching and the church was settled in favor of the latter. Inquisition was an expression of early totalitarian thinking, one of the first attempts to introduce unanimity and to punish nonconformity, having established a monopoly on that relation to the Higher that was contained in the Teaching’s energetic domain, but that was appropriated by the church with the help of inquisition. Christ “locked out by a golden barrier,” the stake at which Jeanne d’Arc burned in the 15th century had exactly this meaning. The church did not forgive her direct relations with the Higher and, trying to disprove such relations, created a torturous and fatal fire as an earthly argument.


The manifestation of any human thought was considered by the church as violation of its “sacred” monopoly. The medieval church tried to stop with stakes and tortures that energetic process that was conceived in the bowels of the religious consciousness of the late European Middle Ages. The first sprouts of other understandings and knowledge were already breaking through its dark, moribund strata. That knowledge was pouring from secret sources of the East, it was brought by knights-crusaders who went to remote countries to protect the Holy Sepulcher. Having come home, they established secret orders, where ancient manuscripts were kept in castle libraries, they told about cosmogonic and Higher understandings, different from those understandings about which orthodox and semi-literate church fathers wrote and spoke. From time to time, the masters of these orders burned at the stake, but this could not stop the process of the formation of the new thinking that would be later called scientific. Its carriers would pass through chambers of torture and fire at the stake. Giordano Bruno, Copernicus, Galileo… It was they who revealed all the grandiosity of the Infinity concealed from man by the black smoke of inquisition’s fires, who spoke of heavenly mechanics, who expressed “heretical” ideas about the Earth being round and rotating.

The energetic processes of the Cosmos, passing through heaps and agglomerates of human history, are often distorted by the free will of man himself. It so happened historically that, above the cradle of the newly born scientific thinking, not a good fairy of free thought and creation was left standing, but torches smoked in the bony hands of inquisitors in ominous black cassocks. The result of this phenomenon turned out to be really sad. Having receded from the church due to the persecutions of vivid thought and victimizations, scientists also rejected the relation to the Higher that was needed by science, having left it completely under the thumb of the church. In other words, they threw out the baby together with the bath water. That is why the first “flash” of new thinking that took place in the 18th century, primitively formed utilitarian material separated from the spiritual values of man’s approach to the phenomena under study. Rationalism won a victory over the flow of subtle energies related to the Higher, negation triumphed over assertion, the arrogant mentality of a “pioneer” prevailed over natural curiosity and impartiality. The brightest representatives of such an approach were the French encyclopedists, or enlighteners, who, with their strictly “materialistic” research, determined scientific thinking’s development for at least the coming two centuries.

And only in the crucial 20th century, when science performed a number of most important discoveries, and the scientific “explosion” of the 1920s ruined old understandings, a process of the reconsideration of values and the creation of a new model of the Universe that did not correspond in any way to long-established methodological approaches in science started. An immense role in this process was played by the most talented, intuitively developed scientists and a large group of Russian religious philosophers. Studies by V. Vernadsky and N. Berdiayev, P. Teyar de Chardin and K. Tsiolkovsky, Niles Bor and P. Florensky, A. Tchizhevsky and T. Carleil, I. Ilyin and V. Bekhterev, and others, formed an integral approach to the phenomena of nature and human society. They turned their attention to ancient sages’ forgotten ideas of the close interaction of man, the planet, and the Cosmos, of the fundamental unity of macro- and microcosm. Thoseideas foundconfirmation inscientificdiscoveries. Confused in concepts of narrow materialism, which rejected everything that was beyond its understanding, experimental science could not explain many things that had already become scientific reality by the beginning of the 20th century. And this circumstance made experimental science of the West turn to the speculative philosophy of the East. In the still small realm of the first scientific illuminations and new cognitions, a process of the formation of that point of synthesis that was already determining the future trunk line of scientific thought’s development and modification started. The creation of such a point testified to the transfer of relation to the Higher into this energetic field. At the same time, the anticipation of starting changes and the approach of the new evolutionary stage brought the interest of scientists and philosophers to problems of cosmic evolution, to the spiritual and cultural processes underlying this evolution. Breaking through new, yet unknown information, the most talented and impartially thinking researchers groped for the first milestones in the forthcoming energetic world outlook. They already understood that the unity of man, the planet, and the Universe, of which was already known in ancient times, is energetic unity. In those years, V. Vernadsky already wrote of the need of a new science, “more up-to-date than the modern science, more tolerant to new ideas and new achievements of human genius.” [25]. He tended to think that life as such was “a cosmic expression of reality,” as space-time, matter, and energy are” [26]. Vernadsky and those scientists who were moving within the same scientific tideway with him already viewed scientific methodology in a different way, expanded its framework to the comprehension of the reality of cosmic Infinity. “To understand scientifically is to place the phenomenon in the frames of the scientific reality of the Cosmos” [27]. Man ceased to be only a biological object; he was becoming a cosmic entity carrying in itself all the complexity of the Universe’s energetics. Shocking orthodox materialists, K. Tsiolkovsky wrote and spoke about a spiritualized Cosmos, of the rational forces in it, of the unconquerable will of the Universe, of the hierarchy of highly developed creatures. He stated that matter of the future humanity, having passed many stages in cosmic evolution, will acquire qualities of radiant energy. “The will of man,” the scientist pointed out, “and of all other creatures, higher and lower, is only the manifestation of the will of the Universe. The voice of man, his thoughts, discoveries, notions of truth and deception are only the voice of the Universe” [28]. Tsiolkovsky as if listened to this Universe, guessed something relying on his internal knowledge, anticipated something, and laid out as he could what was understood by him.

In the meantime, Tchizhevsky drew curves of cosmic bodies’ effects on man and captured the manifestations of certain mysterious rhythms in their fragile lines. The picture that arose as a result of his studies struck the scientist. He was incapable of immediately embracing it with his thought and explaining it. “And now, looking at all these curves soaring together and falling together, our imagination visualizes the fluttering dynamics of a cosmotelluric environment [29] in the form of a boundless ocean covered with rows of rising and falling waves, among which the life and behavior of an individual organism is similar to an unnoticeable and weak-willed crumb submitting in its behavior, just as in a real ocean, to all the caprices of the physical elements surrounding it” [30]. The old understandings of interactions with the Cosmos were collapsing. A strange picture of the unity between all that happened in it and those processes that were developing on the Earth arose. The scientist understood well this unity, and, in the curves drawn by him, he guessed the diversity of the interaction of seemingly incomparable values – the Cosmos and man. He wrote of the great electromagnetic life of the Universe, laying the first bricks in the foundation of the 20th century’s energetic world outlook. “This life,” he stated, has its pulse, its periods and rhythms. Science of the future will have to settle the question of where these rhythms are conceived and where they come from” [31]. Summarizing his unusual research, Tchizhevsky wrote: “It should be concluded from the above that there is a certain extraterrestrial power affecting from the outside the development of events in human communities. The simultaneousness of the fluctuations of solar and human activities serves as the best indication of this power” [32]. And as if in consonance with yet unformulated guesses and suppositions of major scientists of the 20th century, N. Roerich, great artist and thinker, wrote: “The best intellects turn to the factors of the cosmic powers’ interaction with the fates of earthly peoples” [33].


New information was coming from all sides, being conceived in various strata of the spiritual and cultural fields, to be drawn afterward into one knot, to gather into a single energetic point of evolutionary impulse. Thus, human thought, nourished by the energy of the cosmos, formed and prepared a new consciousness of earthly humanity. But time and space required this process’s acceleration. Only scientific achievements were not enough for the final formation of a full energetic impulse. Also, there were not enough scientists who had realized the necessity of a new step in planetary mentality. The majority of them continued to work using old, traditional methods and to think within the frames of orthodox materialism. This materialism, narrow and shallow, in the course of time got filled with the “scientific” husk and waste of out-of-date human thought, which clogged all the pores of science and deprived it of the possibility for further advancement.

Science urgently needed purification, transformation, and more proximity to man’s spiritual tasks, including such notions as morality, love, beauty, and spiritual improvement. Without these values, which were already created by religious consciousness, science was becoming degraded, turning into a cold monster whose technical innovations tended to substitute for man himself with all his uniqueness and individuality.

If the the processes taking place in scientific thought were rather lying on the surface, were visible and tangible, at the same time, in the depth of the energetic evolutionary field, another, mysterious and invisible, process was developing, which was nourished from a source of subtle energies and other states of matter. In other words, the energetic impulse needed for the further advancement of humanity’s thinking and consciousness was being formed there. And when the anonymous books of the Living Ethics, or Agni Yoga, appeared, the mysterious became obvious. It happened in the 1920s. The new Teaching proved to be that axis that attracted all that had acquired by that time the form of the new planet’s thinking at various levels of human activities. Thus, the 20th century turned out to be the time of the appearance of a powerful energetic impulse that was to once again change mankind’s consciousness on the planet Earth.

The anonymous creators of the Living Ethics considered the Universe to be a grandiose and boundless system of the spiritualized Cosmos comprising multiple energetic structures, including man. They conveyed information on those structures’ interaction and on this interaction’s effect on cosmic evolution, energetic “corridors” that penetrated the boundless space.

Comprehending the place of man in the system of cosmic evolution, the creators of the Living Ethics asserted that man carries in himself the energetics of the Cosmos, and so he lives in accordance with the same laws as does the Cosmos. The interaction of the Universe’s energetic structures in the process of energy exchange with man is the main motivating power of man’s cosmic evolution.

And energetics itself is the initial reason of all processes taking place in the Cosmos. It also plays the main role in the transition of man from a state of evolution’s object to its subject. The distance separating an object from a subject of evolution is the path of the spiritual and cultural improvement of man, which results in the transition from man’s passive and unconscious participation in evolution to active and conscious participation. Man acquires abilities to influence, in compliance with the Great Laws of the Cosmos, the course and quality of evolution. It is those who became conscious subjects of evolution that make up the Hierarchy of the animate Cosmos represented on earth by the Teachers.

The animate Cosmos’s evolutionary processes act in accordance with the objective Great Laws of the Cosmos. The combination of these laws determines the general and particular purposes of evolution. All the laws of the Cosmos testify to the priority of the spirit, which the creators of the Living Ethics consider to be a force of nature and an energetic phenomenon. The spark of this spirit is contained in each man, and it lives and acts in him according to his free will. The main task of evolution itself is the spiritualization of matter, the increase of its energetics, its further refinement, and the change of its quality. This can only be achieved with the help of such a power as the spirit. In the process of matter’s refinement and spiritualization, the trend of synthesis is the main fundamental way for this task’s fulfillment.

And such a phenomena as Culture, the self-organizing system of the spirit, Love, Beauty, carrying in themselves subtle and high-vibration energetics, and, finally, the psychic energy of man himself, are the supports of evolution and determine its quality. The absence of such supports for some or other reasons interrupts the way of cosmic evolution and throws man into the funnel of involution.

Everything that happens on earth is determined by the process of cosmic evolution, its laws, and its particular features. The same things, and not the “method of production,” determine the earthly historical process, the energetic cause of which acts in an extremely complicated array of cosmic processes.

If, instead of so-called innovations,” the Teachers pointed out, “and new statutes humanity would turn its attention to the cosmic laws, it would be possible to establish equilibrium, which now is being violated more and more , beginning with the law of conception and extending up to cosmic consummation. The affirmed laws are one. Upon all planes it is possible to affirm unity. The path of evolution crosses threadlike through all the physical and spiritual degrees. Therefore, in the state and in the social order all the cosmic laws could apply toward perfecting of form” [34].

Special attention was given by the Living Ethics to the interaction of earthly humanity with worlds of other states of matter and other dimensions, whose energetics in a most decisive way affect the cosmic evolution of mankind and its being on the planet’s surface. The Teaching impartially and daringly united scientific knowledge, achievements, and the illuminations and practice of religious consciousness, the thought of spiritual Teachers of the East and the West. In short, all that has preserved its viability by this period of humanity’s development and that could influence the evolutionary processes of the planet and Cosmos.

For many centuries of the development of religious consciousness, spiritual Teachers came to the world and brought Teachings that were realized at the level of this religious thinking and mentality. The planet Earth’s 20th-century inhabitants found themselves witnesses of another Teaching’s appearance. But this time, according to its creators’ idea, the Teaching was to realize itself not through religion, as usual, but through science. For the Teaching was given in the period of transition from religious thinking to scientific. It is hard to say when this shift happens; only one thing can be stated for sure, that it will proceed gradually, overcoming old, traditional thinking, and, probably, its final establishment will take place in the period of the existence of the sixth species of humanity, i.e., in the new evolutionary stage. However, the new thinking cannot be formed on the basis of old traditional science and obsolescent scientific methodology. To make new scientific thinking universal, it is necessary to overcome an important step – to transform the existent science by introducing into scientific use such categories as morality, spiritualization, scientific comprehension of the relation to Higher worlds and new subtle energies, and many other things. Only this kind of science will be able to form the basis for the new scientific thinking. And another important issue related to the Living Ethics Teaching. If former religious Teachings put forward the cult as an instrument for the implementation of ideas of space, the new Teaching substitutes ethics for cult. This process of substitution is complicated and lengthy, and most probably, will be accompanied with acute struggle. The humanity passing from the cult based on faith to ethics based on the knowledge of the cosmic laws and particular features of cosmic evolution will change many things in its life and create a qualitatively different energetic field of its spiritual and cultural activities on the planet.

Our great compatriots Helena and Nicholas Roerich had direct relations to the appearance of the Living Ethics. Their selfless labor, philosophic and artistic, gave us the possibility to get acquainted and grow familiar with the new planetary Teaching. Helena Roerich wrote down and processed texts communicated to her by spiritual Teachers; Nicholas Roerich reflected the Teaching’s ideas in beautiful artistic canvases. Both contributed their great effort into the conception and development of the new thinking of modern humanity.

It so happened historically that the Living Ethics encountered the greatest difficulties and obstacles in the Roerichs’ motherland, in Russia. It was due first of all to that totalitarian regime that was established in this country in the late 1920s. The state ideology that supported this regime to a great extent slowed down spiritual and cultural processes in the country and distorted the consciousness of a whole people. To comprehend the essence of what was happening in post-revolutionary Russia, it is necessary to understand what was, and actually is, totalitarian thinking and totalitarian mentality. Totalitarianism, in its cultural and spiritual dimension, is a dead end, a distorted branch of religious thinking, close to the church type of thinking, and to a great extent born by it. Imposed on a whole nation, the ideology, the monopoly on which was strictly and consistently observed by the state and state institutes, was that baneful domain where any thought was suppressed except official onces and where no other information except that permitted had access. Gradually, due to such circumstances, knowledge, on which any modern teaching is based, even Marxist, started to be substituted by faith. This resulted, in its turn, in the fact that the philosophic system, no matter what it resemble, gradually turned into a strange kind of religion with its own church and cult. In this system, the state was substituted for the god, the social and economic theory of Marxism-Leninism – for religious teaching, the General Secretary – for the archpriest, the party Central Committee and KGB – for holy inquisition, endless quotations from the “sacred” books of Marxism-Leninism classics – for church services. This surrogate “church,” based on materialism that was understood in a vulgar way, negated the existence of all that lay beyond human sensations, including in first order that relation to the Higher that is one of the most important conditions for mankind’s cosmic evolution. This hindered the growth and development of consciousness of the totalitarian state nationals, made this consciousness deficient and made thinking compliant and easily adaptable to external circumstances. Such results of totalitarian “experiments” on the spiritual sphere of man allowed the state to hold in leash many million masses whose convictions were formed on the basis of semi-consciousness and weakly developed thinking.

Having isolated the country with the help of the “iron curtain” from the influence of any “ideologically alien” thought leaking in from outside, the ruling coterie created conditions under which Russia found itself as if disconnected from the flow of the world’s thought and energetic exchange. But in the long run, no earthly force can stop the processes of cosmic character; it can only distort them. The free spirit of man will always strive for renovated sources of thought and comprehension of what happens in the world. Evolutionary energetic processes can be held back for only some time, but it is not possible to stop them.

The Living Ethics books became distributed already in the period of the totalitarian regime. And, just like other-minded people, they became subject to persecution and victimization together with writings of the Russian Silver Age philosophers. New scientific ideas that did not fit into ideological understanding of the Procrustean bed of the totalitarian “church” also found themselves in the same situation. Those ideas were not to be distributed, they were consigned to oblivion and disapproval, and their creators and carriers were subjected to all kinds of repressions. All these issues testified to the struggle going on between religious and scientific thinking, even behind the “iron curtain” of totalitarianism. The priests of the totalitarian “church,” which were called ideologists, resorted to anything to knock down “the enemy.” “Agni Yoga is a dangerous teaching, it leads away from real life to the world of illusions, makes to reject any work, even the washing of one’s own linen. People publishing and distributing the Agni Yoga teaching are convinced adversaries of Marxism-Leninism, the CPSU activities in the field of the formation of the working people’s scientific world outlook,” one of them wrote [35].

The formation of the scientific world outlook, the struggle with manifestations of alien ideology [the Living Ethics ideas – L. Sh.] have been and remain one of the central tasks of communist upbringing,” another such priest wrote [36].

It is possible to quote a third such source, a fourth, and many others of this kind. It is also possible to add to the above the activities that were pursued by the ideological structures in the struggle against “heretics.” They were persecuted for reading the Living Ethics, they got party reprimands, or they were just expelled from the party. The “sinners” were placed under the “church” ban and anathematized. They were invited for “showdowns” to the KGB; from time to time, loud proceedings were instigated.

The teachings and philosophy of the East, which played a significant role in the formation of the new planetary thinking and in which representatives of this country’s various layers showed serious interest, were persecuted to the same extent as were the Living Ethics. To besmirch the seditious interest, the CPSU Central Committee’s ideological department, which was distinguished neither by flexibility nor depth of thought, began spreading the proclamation that it was the United States CIA that was extremely interested in the inculcation of Oriental teachings in the USSR, as they pour into the souls of the citizens fascinated by them “the poison of passivity and an ideology alien to us.” All those who took interest in the culture of the East, and especially those who strived to master its spiritual practice, were declared “CIA abettors.” Central and local KGB authorities created special files on such “abjurers” and closely followed their activities. In the polyphony of voices of the homebred domestic and professional ideologies of those years, the voice of A. Gangnus stood out, one of the first to express an idea that afterward served as a kind of a bridge thrown between the CPSU CC’s ideological department and the Orthodox church “thinkers.” “A talented artist and patriot [N. Roerich – L. Sh.] was sincerely convinced that the people moving toward a better future will not be able to live without a new religion” [37].

In 1988 A. Gangnus referred to one of the most interesting books of the Living Ethics, Community as “the initial documents of a new religion.” Written in 1926, Community was a book-warning touching upon many questions of this state’s organization. It was, unfortunately, ignored by our leaders of that time.

Under conditions of being conceived as opposition between religious and scientific thinking and accompanied by the hesitations and vagueness of “perestroika” ideas, the Roerich cultural movement, which now attracts so many people, was starting.

The struggle between religious and scientific thinking inevitably affected the Roerich movement. In its depth, an innumerous group of scientists began to be formed that clearly understood that the Living Ethics ideas, having been realized through science, must form the foundation of the new planetary thinking of the 20th century. Toward this purpose, scientific research of the sum of knowledge contained in the Living Ethics books was needed. This group was undoubtedly consolidated by the appearance, on Svetoslav Roerich’s initiative, of an organization that was first called the Soviet Roerich Foundation, and then the International Center of the Roerichs. Having received from Svetoslav Roerich’s hands Nicholas and Helena Roerich’s legacy in 1990, the Center managed to launch large-scale cultural, scientific, and educational activities throughout a few years of its difficult and far from peaceful existence in the changing country. These activities introduced a number of changes into correlation of forces in the struggle between religious and scientific thinking in the Roerich movement itself and aroused the interest of the cultural and scientific public of Russia. All this was happening against the background of the traditional totalitarian ideology’s massive collapse in the country and against the convulsive but useless attempts to replace it. The Orthodox Church, discriminated against and driven underground in the prior years, started spreading its wings. Governmental officials and state leaders started to more and more often appear at church services. Holding candles and awkwardly crossing themselves, former CPSU CC members, secretaries of district party committees, and high-positioned officers of totalitarianism as if stretched a canonic thread between the state and the church separated from it, inviting the church again into a union with the state, and thus placing in its hands ideological advantages. In unctuous services in newly repaired and restored temples, in the flames of candles and the sounds of chants, a phenomenon of historical significance was taking place, so far comprehended by very few people. As if unnoticeably and illusively, along concealed rivers of the human spirit, the totalitarian state’s religious ideology passed under the golden domes of the Orthodox church.

The church, having received the relay baton from the ideological “church,” inevitably, following the traditions of totalitarian thinking, turned its gaze to where something was disturbing its peace. To a certain extent encouraged by the powers that be, the church started to study the spiritual field left over as a heritage after the CPSU CC, and it came across the Living Ethics and the extensive Roerich movement, which concealed a danger for it. Clearly understanding that both of these are not fragments of the old ideology but something new and hostile, the clergy started to uproot the undesirable phenomenon, trying to throw it out, like a weed, from the spiritual field. And the methods of struggle against the new thinking remained the same as those practiced by their predecessors – slander, lie, defamation.

One of the first to speak against the Living Ethics and the Roerichs’ ideas was that same Mother of God church which, in a few years, would be placed by the Orthodox Church Bishops’ Council of 1994 “in the dock” by the Roerichs’ side. “Who destroyed Holy Russia?” zealously questioned the “Mother of God” archbishop Ioann Boreslavsky, who did not yet suspect what was awaiting him. “Let us define the source: the Tibetan Mahatmas. It was they who provoked the activity of masons and all other occult orders. The hand of Tibet on Russia is the hand of the devil himself.

Any of the Tibetan doctrines leads to the Cosmos as the final sphere – the sphere of radiation, disintegration, temptation, and death. The Cosmos is the Antichrist’s kingdom. Not even in one inch is it related to the Kingdom of God: everything in it is lies, temptation, uncleanness” [38]. Reader, did youunderstandanything? Neither did I. After these kinds of statements, they repeated more and more often an absolutely unjustified idea that the Roerich movement and the ICR was a sect and that the Roerichs themselves were apostles of a “new religion.” The provocative and mercenary character of this kind of allegation was quite obvious.

In May 1993, under the aegis of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Holy Synod, the Christian seminar “Totalitarian Sects in Russia” was held. In the summarizing statement of its participants, the following was said: “We cannot keep silent facing an active antichristian movement comprising theosophy, anthroposophy, the Roerichs’ Living Ethics, and the ‘New Age’ cults. The spread of the Roerichs’ Agni Yoga in Russia, which is supported by state leaders and structures, arouses our concern. With all responsibility we testify: the Roerichs’ teaching is a religious sect, not only inconsistent with Christianity, but directly hostile to it.” After the Orthodox seminar participants, the indomitable deacon Kurayev, former post-graduate student of the Institute of Philosophy of the USSR Academy of Science, flooded newspapers and even journals with his dubious publications.

What the deacon’s “writings” are one can judge by the following fragments: “The Russian Ministry of Education, which so much cares for the Roerichs, should recommend that teachers call children to worship idols at least three times a day and that they, without understanding the words, form a sect of Holy Rollers” [39]. I do not think that this monstrous slander needs any comment. But the Ministry of Education was not enough for the deacon. He started to estimate in his own way the scientific research of the Military University, which showed great interest in the ideas of the cosmic evolution of mankind. Such unacceptable, from the deacon’s point of view, interest gave rise to his aggressive tirade worthy of the inquisition, long gone into non-being: “The rumors that military men do not mind creating occult-magic weapons have been heard for a long time. Now, the secret has become obvious.” I do not think the deacon himself has any clear idea of what those “occult-magic weapons” are.

At the end of 1994, a Bishops’ Council gathered in Moscow and passed the following resolve:

Paganism, astrology, and theosophic and spiritualistic societies once established by Helena Blavatskaya, who claimed to possess certain “ancient wisdom” concealed from the uninitiated have been revived; the Living Ethics Teaching, introduced into use by the Roerich family and also called Agni Yoga is promoted. [ . . . ] People sharing the teachings of those sects and movements have alienated themselves from the Orthodox Church. The Bishops’ Council [ . . . ] does not bless the participation of Orthodox people in events organized by groups falling under this determination.” So, it is prohibited to pious Christians to be present at the events of the ICR, where scientific conferences are held, series of lectures on the Living Ethics are delivered, Nicholas and Helena Roerich’s books, full of deep thoughts and unexpected discoveries, are published. People coming to the ICR belong to different faiths. They come to these halls, on whose walls the great artist’s paintings hang, not to conduct worship or to participate in a divine service. They come for knowledge. Only a few years ago, this kind of event was prohibited by ideologists of the totalitarian state, and now it is prohibited by the Orthodox church. It has already become clear that the church’s renaissance is accompanied by prohibitions, censorship, and believers’ restrictions in secular life. In many countries, there are societies of the Roerichs; their books are published. And no church of the world, whether it be Catholic, Protestant, Lutheran, Baptist, or any other church, has not hit upon the idea of such a prohibition. However, no prohibitions will stop the formation and development of the new scientific planetary thinking, no restrictions can put fetters on human thought. The planet’s history testifies to this with vivid examples. It is useless to resist the new thinking’s establishment.

Scientific research into the Invisible World, worlds of other, higher states of matter, will give the new science, which uses achievements of religious thought as well, practical links with those worlds and, in accordance with the evolutionary plan, will make them close to us. Religious thinking is gradually becoming obsolete, the energies of evolution are moving into another sphere. And, no matter how terrible it is to say, the church (but not the Teaching) is also outliving its usefulness. That is why it is trying to nourish itself with energies that are alien to it, energies that in their time destroyed it, energies of a totalitarian atheistic system. This forms the paradox of the church’s situation. “In this time of world obstruction,” one of the Living Ethics books says, “there is only the one path of regeneration of thinking. Precisely, it is important to awaken the consciousness. Indeed, when the spirit can look back and know that yesterday’s thinking has already passed, than takes place the transmutation bringing discernment. [ . . . ] For the spirit overburdened with yesterday's remains is laden with a massive weight. With such a burden one cannot ascend the Mountain, one cannot pass through the Gates of Light, one cannot become associated with the luminous Future. Thus, if the Church Fathers summon into the past, the Servants of Light summon into the future. Awakening of consciousnesses, clarification of the Teaching, and summons into the future will result in a great regeneration of thinking” [40]. The Living Ethics Teaching, the main pivot of the new thinking and new relation to the Higher, was conveyed in the Russian language. Its creators, who could see far into the future, understood how important it was for Russia to find in its difficult life full of devastations that single way that would lead to spiritual and material achievements, the way on which Russia’s cultural heritage and the people’s spirit would be realized, which would help it to carry out its evolutionary task in this formidable, crucial time.


1. Fiery World. I, 102.

2. ibid., 171.

3. ibid., 646.

4. ibid., III, 262.

5. Hierarchy, 412.

6. Infinity, 428.

7. Community. Riga. 97.

8. ibid., 170.

9. Infinity. 517.

10. J. L. Portillo, D. Sodi, and F. D. Infante. Quetzalcoatl. Мoscow, 1982. 174.

11. ibid.

12. N. Berdiayev. The Essence of History. Мoscow, 1990. 65.

13. ibid., 18.

14. ibid., 63.

15. J. L. Portillo, D. Sodi, and F. D. Infante. Quetzalcoatl. 36.

16. ibid., 68.

17. ibid., 71.

18. J. L. Portillo, D. Sodi, and F. D. Infante. Quetzalcoatl. 76–77.

19. N. Berdiayev. The Essence of History. 87.

20. ibid., 64.

21. Myths of the Peoples of the World. v. 1. Мoscow, 1980. 252.

22. N. Berdiayev. The Essence of History. 64.

23. The Leaves of Morya’s Garden: Book 2: Illumination. III, 18.

24. F. Dostoyevsky. Collected Works. v. 9. Мoscow, 1958. 327.

25. V. Vernadsky. Reflections of a Naturalist: Scientific Thought as a Planetary Phenomenon. Book 2. Мoscow, 1977. 23.

26. ibid., 32.

27. ibid., 31.

28. K. Tsiolkovsky. The Will of the Universe: Unknown Rational Forces. Kaluga, 1928. 14.

29. Unified environment for the Cosmos and the earth. – Editor.

30. A. Tchizhevsky. The Earthly Echo of Solar Storms. Мoscow, 1976. 34.

31. ibid. 30.

32. A. Tchizhevsky. The Physical Factors of the Historical Process. Kaluga, 1924. 62.

33. Nicholas Roerich. The Power of Light. New York, 1931. 80.

34. Fiery World. III, 65.

35. Altaiskaya Pravda [Altai Truth]. 1985. Apr. 20.

36. Literaturnaya Gazeta [Literary Newspaper]. 1986. Feb. 5.

37. ibid.

38. “Tibetan Eye.” Undated. 23.

39. Trud [Labor]. 1994. Oct. 13.

40. Fiery World. III, 264.